“Whether this is your first time or your 100th time, know that you are most welcome in this place.” It is this message that Emerald City Metropolitan Community Church Interim Pastoral Leader, Kimberly Brown, would most like new visitors to the congregation to hear. As a denomination that – since its inception – has ministered directly to the homosexual community, an often wounded and marginalized group, this message speaks directly to that place inside the hearts of many who find their way to the church. “The purpose of church,” Brown professes, “[is] to return home – to have a place to call home.”
Though Brown has been a member of Metropolitan Community Church of Portland, Oregon for the past 24 years, Emerald City MCC invited her into their home nine weeks ago to serve as Interim Pastoral Leader. Brown jokes at the beginning of the weekly Sunday morning service, “Some of you may not have known I was here, but you’ve got me for the next year!”
Her position, an intentionally time-limited one, exists primarily for the purpose of guiding the congregation through the process of clarifying where they are now and discerning their future call. While Seattle has been home to an MCC congregation since 1972, the congregation has weathered some difficult storms over the past few years from changing locations several times to dwindling attendance. None of this worries Brown, though. “For the past nine weeks, not a single Sunday has gone by that I haven’t seen at least four new faces.” Clearly, MCC Seattle is getting its groove back.
Those who know Brown would tell you that this is not a coincidence. With an energy that positively bursts through the walls of the chapel of University Temple Methodist Church, Brown literally bounces as she proclaims her excitement over the open communion table. “This is my absolute favorite part of service! Whether you are at MCC Key West or at MCC South Africa, you are welcome at this table just exactly as you are.”
It is precisely this spirit of joyfulness and openness that lead Brown to this very place. When asked about her personal journey, Brown is very clear, “When I heard that Seattle was seeking an interim, I really strongly felt that God called me. I’d never done it before and I had to go through training in order to get to a place in which I could do this, but I was just called!” Brown is Nonprofit and Family Lawyer by trade and is currently a Seminary student at Seattle University.
Indeed, that is where MCC Seattle and the larger denomination as a whole is, Brown posits. “I think we have a prophetic journey to speak truth to the injustices that are currently in existence in our world. [We are called] to speak truth to power. We are prophets. And how we choose to go about being those prophets is still something that we have to discern.”
Certainly Brown has her own opinions about what steps can be taken to advance this mission over the remaining 43 weeks of her time with MCC Seattle, but she also desires to be clear to those who may have attended MCC in the past or who are thinking about attending in the future.
“Even though we are in a period of transformation in terms of the corporate identity of the church, I guarantee that you will experience a place where you are invited into a relationship with God. We are ready to receive all of you and to walk on [this] journey with you,” she declares.
Weekly worship services are held every Sunday morning at 11am in the chapel at University Temple United Methodist Church – across the street from the University Bookstore. Parking is free until 12:30pm. For more information about upcoming events, the history of the congregation and larger denomination and resources, please visit www.mccseattle.org.